Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive

Simply put, you're not just paying for the actual photograph or piece of paper, you're paying for time and expertise. First, let's look at the actual time involved. If you don't read this entire page, at least read this first part.

For a Typical 2 hour portrait session:

* 30 minutes to 1 hour of travel to and from the session
* 2 hours of shooting ( most of my past clients know that I have been known to take a lot longer than this, I can't help myself, I love to 'haveachat' with them, and I keep shooting the whole time)
* 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.
* 1 hour + to load the photos onto a computer (2 - 4 GB of data)
* 30 minutes to back up the files on an external drive
* 2-3 days (sometimes longer) of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, art works; including textures, overlays, cloning of unwanted distractions, airbrushing, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the Internet and backing up the edited photographs, getting printed proofs for viewing, make slideshow for viewing, make and print your little ‘extras’ that you don’t know, about to tell the viewing session, etc. The list can go on and on.
* 2 - 3 hours to talk to the client at viewing/ordering session, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints.
* 30 mins – 1 hour of scheduled appointment for pickup of photos.

You can see how one 2 hour session easily turns into more than 4 days of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour and the paper professional photographers use costs a lot more than $1.50 to have printed.

For an eight hour wedding:


* I won't go into all the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least 2 to 3 full 40 hour work weeks worth of time, not to mention the outlay costs of albums etc. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour.

Now for the expertise.

Professional photography is a skill, acquired through a practice and an artistic eye, and many many many hours & dollars by learning how to use software/hardware, constant upgrades, finding the best quality of products to offer you etc. Even though a quality camera now costs under $2,000 taking professional portraits involves much more than just a nice camera.

Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website, having insurance etc. To give you an idea between the difference of your little ‘ desktop printer’ and the professional printers, your desktop printer usually has only 4 inks, the professional printers have 12 + inks. I also have to calibrate my monitors regularly to make sure what I see on my screen is exactly what gets printed, no unwanted colours.

And let's not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera - and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself.

Think of it this way - the next time you pay $X to have your nails done, those nails may only cost $1.50, But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional to apply them.

What about the cheap studios at the mall?

Please don't compare us to the chain store studios. But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won't come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for.

I could go on and on with why Professional Photographers charge so much, but you get the idea, we are a service to please you, to give you something that you will have a lifetime of enjoyment and wonderful memories from.

Conclusion

We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the photos you can do or print yourself at a local chain store.


Thank you for taking the time to read this.
based on the original writings from the wonderful Shawn & Pamela at caughtonfilmphoto.com